Demand for Architects Driving Contractor Growth

August 22, 2018

The recently released 2018 Harvey Nash CIO Survey revealed 78% of IT leaders claim their digital strategy is ineffective, while 55% state alignment between the business and technology is not up to scratch. Clearly something is not working.

With technology playing an increasingly important role across all aspects of business, organisations are turning to architects to overcome these challenges and successfully deliver on digital.

Unfortunately, the solution is not so straightforward. For the past four years, CIOs have reported a growing shortage of architects across  a variety of disciplines including enterprise, solutions and technical.

The Growing Role of Contractors

Historically, IT leaders have struggled to build effective architecture functions with the necessary skills to deliver a high level of service to their organisations. 

Anecdotally, outsourcing the architecture function has not been an option. Despite the innovation opportunities, the overall technology roadmap, and the business/IT alignment  an effective architecture strategy offers, the potential loss of intellectual property is too great a risk for most organisations to take. 

The obvious answer then is for businesses to grow their own teams. With such a small talent pool and fierce competition for permanent architects, we’ve seen a notable rise in demand for contractors to supplement this skills shortage and provide the level of expertise that organisations need to effectively deliver their digital strategy.

Also worth noting is that over the past 8 years we have seen the evolution of the architecture function and the roles that sit within it.  There has been a significant shift away from the segregation of duties between enterprise and solutions architecture; towards the collective responsibility for enterprise architecture as a function.

Bigger Money, Broader Roles

The willingness of organisations to pay top dollar for architectural contractors hasn’t gone unnoticed. A rising number of architects are moving away from permanent positions, instead cashing-in on the high day-rates, flexible conditions and greater job variety afforded to contracting.

This has exacerbated the problem, further shrinking the already tiny talent pool that exists in the UK (and across much of the Western World), and pushing budgets up.

However, it’s not all in the contractor’s favour. To justify the higher price tag, business expectations are also growing. The ‘wish list’ within the job description for an architect is expanding, with a lot more demands being placed upon the expert contractor. Take for example the job description for a Solution Architect below:

“An in-depth technical knowledge across a range of disciplines including:  package solutions (COTS); service orientated architecture; bespoke enterprise applications; integration, architecture; process cloud/infrastructure architecture and security architecture.”

With the ability to introduce new technologies and innovations such as “IOT, Cloud, Automation, AI, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain….”

Oh, and let’s not forget, “knowledge of governance, process architecture, design patterns, and defining the architecture framework and best practice.” 

Ultimately, while the notion of a bigger paycheque might be appealing, the pressure on architects of all disciplines in technology is far greater than ever before. Those contractors who succeed in this field are the ones driven by a desire to provide innovation, growth opportunities and shape the technology roadmap to actually deliver on the business’s digital strategy.

If you can provide an organisation with the agility, scalability and responsiveness of their technology platforms to deliver for the customer – well that’s an exciting place to be!

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